Birth Name: Krishna Bhanji
Place of Birth: Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, U.K.
Date of Birth: 31 December, 1943
*Gujarati Indian (father)
*English (maternal grandmother)
*uncertain, possibly Ashkenazi Jewish (maternal grandfather)
Ben Kingsley is a British actor. He is known for his roles in the films Ghandi and Schindler’s List, among many others.
Ben’s father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, was born in Kenya, to a Gujarati Indian family.
Ben’s mother, Anna Lyna Mary (Goodman), was British. Ben’s maternal grandmother was of English background. Ben’s maternal grandparents were never married, and Ben has stated that his mother had never met her own biological father.
Ben has said that his maternal grandmother told him that Ben’s maternal grandfather was either a Russian Jew or a German Jew. Ben’s maternal grandmother was described by the newspaper The Independent as “virulently anti-Semitic”. The newspaper quoted Ben as saying, “She resented the fact that she gave birth to my mother and then her Jewish lover disappeared, so it was a personal vendetta that came to include a whole race of people”.
In 1994, in an interview published in St. Petersburg Times, Ben stated, “there might be some Russian-Jewish heritage way back on my mother’s side, [but] the thread is so fine there’s no real evidence.”
In 2005, Ben stated in an interview with The Jerusalem Post, about his maternal grandmother, “She was violently opposed to talking about this [his mother’s father], so my poor mother was at the receiving end of a rage attack every time my grandmother was asked about her husband, her lover, whoever it was, but it’s believed that he was a Russian Jew or a German Jew called Goodman.”
Ben’s paternal grandparents were Harji Bhanji and Sikinabhai Lila Shamji.
Ben’s maternal grandmother was Agnes Marion Goodman (the daughter of James Frederick Goodman and Anne Lena/Lyna Westley). Agnes Goodman was born in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. Anne Westley was the daughter of Henry Westley and Elizabeth Bennett.
Sources: Ben’s interview with Joe Pollack, published in St. Petersburg Times, 1994 – http://news.google.com
Ben’s interview with The Jerusalem Post, 2005 – http://www.highbeam.com
Ben’s interview with The Independent, 2010 – http://www.independent.co.uk
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